Langhorne, UM depose Baylor ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The Maryland women's basketball team can now consider itself "Elite."
The third-ranked Terps shed any doubts about their youth and inexperience and ousted No. 10 and defending national champion Baylor, 82-63, last night in an Albuquerque Regional semifinal at Bob King Court at the University of New Mexico.
Maryland (31-4), the No. 2 seed in the regional, earned a berth in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1992 and will take aim at the school's first trip to the Final Four since 1989.
The Terps will meet No. 5 seed Utah (27-6), which beat No. 8 seed Boston College (21-12) in last night's second semifinal.
"We're one of the top eight teams in the country right now," sophomore center Crystal Langhorne said. "Hopefully, people will recognize how good we are."
Langhorne played a huge role in helping the Terps -- who start a junior, two sophomores and two freshmen -- gain that recognition. The All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection led all scorers with 34 points on 14-for-18 shooting.
Langhorne, who also collected 15 rebounds, matched her career high in points, which she registered Jan. 29 against Wake Forest.
Freshman forward Marissa Coleman registered 15 points and six rebounds, while freshman point guard Kristi Toliver scored 12.
Senior forward Sophia Young paced the Lady Bears (26-7), the No. 3 seed in the regional, with 26 points and nine rebounds. But the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year missed 14 of 25 shots.
Much of the defensive credit on Young went to a rotation that included sophomore forwards Laura Harper and Jade Perry, junior Aurelie Noirez and Langhorne.
Harper said the key was handcuffing Young and forcing her teammates to create offense.
"We knew we had to put a lot of pressure just to make her work for her 26, and I think she did," Harper said. "I don't think it's really a secret that if she has an off-game, then it's harder for them to win, and that's what we went for."
Indeed, besides Young, Baylor struggled. Sophomore point guard Angela Tisdale, who had averaged 11.8 points per game before last night, scored just seven, and junior forward Abiola Wabara, who averaged 8.8, finished with just four points.
The Lady Bears converted just 33.8 percent (25 of 74) of their field-goal attempts and opened each half by missing 15 of 16 and 10 of 11 shots, respectively.
"I thought the first five minutes of the game is when the game was won," Baylor coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said of a stretch when the Terps led 14-2. "I thought they took it right at us. ... Maryland was better, bigger and stronger than us in every position tonight."
The defensive effort brought a smile to the face of Maryland coach Brenda Frese.
"It was the first time we executed the game plan perfectly for 40 minutes in terms of what we wanted to do on Baylor's talented post players," she said. "They were hungry [and] they wanted this win. It's amazing to know that we just beat the defending national champs."
The Terps faced no such problems with their offense as the team shot 50 percent (32 of 64) against a Lady Bears defense that had limited teams to 60.7 points per game and 37.4 percent shooting from the field.
Much of that had to do with Langhorne, who scored the team's first eight points and 10 of the first 12, hitting her first five field-goal attempts.
Langhorne, who set a team single-season record with 147 free throws made, said she was able to take advantage of Baylor's decision to not sag an extra defender on her when she caught the ball in the post.
"They were playing me one-on-one, and my teammates were getting me the ball," she said. "I get really excited when I get played one-on-one because I'm so used to getting doubled."
Coleman said Langhorne's production set the game plan. "We just kept pounding it into her, and they couldn't stop her," Coleman said. "She's been doing that all season."
Maryland led by as much as 12 points in the first half, but the Lady Bears eventually tied the score at 25. The Terps answered with a 10-3 run capped by a Shay Doron heave to Langhorne for a layup as the buzzer sounded to end the period.
Maryland put the game away by opening the second half with a 14-2 burst.
Afterward, Toliver declined to make any guarantees regarding a trip to the Final Four in Boston next Sunday and April 4.
"I think we were playing for respect, and we finally got it," she said. "I think we won pretty convincingly."
At Cleveland Rutgers (27-4) vs. Tennessee (30-4), noon North Carolina (31-1) vs. Purdue (26-6), 2:30 p.m.
At Albuquerque, N.M. Maryland 82, Baylor 63 Utah 57, Boston College 54
Maryland (31-4) vs. Utah (27-6), 7 p.m.
At Bridgeport, Conn. Michigan State (24-9) vs. Duke (28-3), 7 p.m. Georgia (23-8) vs. Connecticut (31-4), 9:30 p.m.
San Antonio Regional
At San Antonio LSU 66, DePaul 56 Stanford 88, Oklahoma 74
LSU (30-3) vs. Stanford (26-7), TBA
Cleveland champion vs. Albuquerque champion, 7 or 9:30 p.m. Bridgeport champion vs. San Antonio champion, 7 or 9:30 p.m.
Semifinal winners, 8:30 p.m.